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Hiya! It’s been a while since I wrote my last entry here. Been out of Saigon since March, got caught in Bangkok during the arson attacks, and haven’t had the time to update everyone what I’ve been up to all along. So I’m sharing with you an interesting anecdote about an incident I had some time ago, and my interest in interior design and art, among other things.

The Argentine artist Lucas Rise ponders life and the meaning and inspiration behind his art in his garden.

Sometime in late 2006, I was on the verge of relocating myself to Vietnam. I was thinking what kind of flat I was going to secure for myself, as well as how it would look lik. So I started looking over several interior design magazines in Bangkok.

One magazine caught my eye. It was Living Thailand. In one of the articles was featured a young man who painted colorful wooden cabinets — of the type I like! You know — brightly striking reds and blues and yellows, whimsical, quirky, and to a certain point, rather like child’s play.

Carrousel. My favorite piece among Lucas's quirky cabinets, mainly because of the use of bright colors and because the flowers remind me of the flower drawings I used to make as a child.

Since the magazine was actually written in Thai, I was quite content to just view the colorful pictures of his rehabilitated cabinets, and to have an intimate view of his equally interesting and homey atelier. Later, I found out he crafts all of his cabinets painstakingly by hand — a brilliant feat since sometimes he uses mixed media — like metal studs, wooden pegs or 20,000 hand-cut and painted pieces to decorate an old wooden armoire.

That young artist’s name is Lucas Rise. Just in his early thirties, Lucas hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina, a country where every one seems to live life with gusto (not that different from most Filipinos though J) — truly a Latino to the bone! After being a finalist at the prestigious Platt National Art Awards (Buenos Aires) for an art entry featuring 20,000 handmade pieces of wood attached to a refurbished cabinet, Lucas’s quirky cabinets and other mixed media pieces have been highly revered by young people of his generation as well as art and interior design connoisseurs. His fame has traveled to other countries, particularly Paris, Istanbul, South Africa, Brazil and the US, his current domicile.

The following are some photos of his amazing work, which I happen to be updated about from time to time through all these years that I have had the graces to make contact with him. I must say that no other artist has piqued my fancy or tickled my imagination than Lucas and his very unique wooden cabinets.

A piece called African Whimsy. This series of photos show how the cabinet was made. Notice the unpainted wooden pieces on the cabinet on the right hand side of the photo.

Almost complete!

The finished product at last! What does it remind you of?

For more photos and information about Lucas’s work, see his personal website at www.sansparapluie.com.

Lucas is currently holding a one-man art exhibition of his wonderful cabinets in Orange County, California from June 3-27, 2010 at Saltfine Art Galleries, Laguna Beach, Southern California (see link for more info: http://www.saltfineart.com/exhibitions.php).

Lucas, if I had the means to fly there to the US, I would have done so just to view your exhibition. May you continue your great work; rest assured that we will never tire of being amazed of your artistic talent!

I think this is the first time Lucas used a figure of a person in a cabinet. Notice the figure of a lady on the cabinet's side.

Does the design look familiar to most of my Vietnam-based friends? The armchair back is made from a hand embroidered pillowcase from the Northeast tribes of Vietnam which I had sent Lucas as a present from Vietnam. And with his creative brilliance, he found textiles which perfectly matched the color of the pillowcase to finish a neo-ethnic looking piece! Brilliant!

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